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Friday, May 28, 1999 -- Wheeling
Elby's Big Boy Mile / Tiny Tot Trot
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap] [More Pictures] [Results]

Fun Run
The Fun Run Mile lives up to it's name
A beautiful evening in downtown Wheeling on Friday, May 28th, was the scene of the 1999 Elby's Big Boy Mile. This preliminary event for Saturday's Big Boy 20K has grown into quite the event of its own. Beginning with a "Tiny Tot Trot" at 6:45pm for the 5 and under crowd, the action starts with a flurry of little feet. Next is the "Charity Health Walk" which helps to raise money for the Wheeling Heart Association. Next is the "Fun Run" beginning at 7:00pm with a record crowd of over 150 participants challenging the one mile course during this year's run.

At 7:15pm the downhill course, with its 200 foot elevation drop, is opened to the series runners as they compete in the main event for cash prizes. With a course record of 3:47 ready to be challenged, it wouldn't be long for this race to be over.

David Cooper takes the tape
Immediately speeding to the front was David Cooper racing for Puma North America. Being a 1998 graduate of Mt. Union College, 7 time NCAA Div. III National Champion, and 13 time NCAA Div. III All American, all eyes were on the clock. Keeping his sites on the fast starting Cooper was Carlos Gibbs, a member of the US Army's World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).

With Gibbs bothered by some early race cramping, he was unable to challenge Cooper until the final stretch where the course flattened out for the finish. Possibly making his move a little too soon, Cooper was able to respond to Gibbs' final effort despite some footing problems that could have spelled disaster. At the line it was Cooper just shy of the course record in 3:49.42 with Gibbs on his heels at 3:49.75.

Female 1st
Heather O'Shea (center) raced to a women's 1st overall
The women's competition saw Heather O'Shea, a Wheeling native and 3rd year medical student at West Virginia University, race to the finish in a first place time of 4:45.97. O'Shea may not have realized that every split-second counted as Tricia Snyder was chasing right behind. Snyder took second place with a time of 4:46.57.

Many more participants showed their speed as they raced across the finish to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd. Along with the wonderful smiles of the runners, walkers, and fans, the hard work of Mike Blevins, the Ohio Valley Runners Club, and the Wheeling Police Department ensured that this year's Big Boy Mile was another Big success.